a BOOK telling the story of one of Colne’s greatest benefactors and his business has just been published.
“Bittersweet”, by Nicholas Hartley, is the story of Hartley’s Jams, found by Sir William Pickles Hartley, who was born in Damside, Colne,in 1846.
His business began in the town, Sir William having first made jam from rhubarb growing near to his home.
He is remembered in the town as the benefactor who provided Hartley Hospital in Keighley Road, which opened in 1924 ans is now converted into flats with houses in what were once the gardens. He also built the nearby Hartley Homes, still going as alms houses.
He opened a factory in Aintree, Liverpool, in 1886, and the business employed over 2,000 workers. A second factory was opened in Bermondsey in 1901.
Hartley’s sold its products around the world. The firm also supplied the White Star Line, shipping out of Liverpool, and Cunard. Hartley’s marmalade was said to stand on the breakfast table of King Edward VII, and when Scott made his trip to the Pole, he carried supplies of Hartley’s preserves with him.
William Hartley was a well known Victorian man of commerce, who introduced a profit sharing scheme for his workers that was years ahead of its time, with free medical treatment and a pension scheme. He was knighted in 1908.
He was also a well known philanthropist who gave away almost £1 million in his lifetime. Among his benefactions were a botanical instititute in Liverpool and a home for consumptives at Delamere Forest.
“Bittersweet” is published by Amberley Publishing, of Stroud, Gloucestershire and is priced £14.99.